Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Die Another Day

My second Bond film in a couple of weeks! Prepare to check reality at the door as you go on a trip into Bond-world with amazing stunts and special effects.

I have to admit that I happier with a Bond in the traditional mould (Pierce Brosnan vs. Daniel Craig) but I can be a bit of a traditionalist too. So in the tradition of Bond movies, this one takes you on a ‘fantastic’ journey for the 20th Bond film.

The movie begins in Korea where Bond attempts to kill nasty Colonel Moon and a terrorist named Zao, who are trading in banned diamonds and weapons. He manages to destroy their base and quite a few of the weapons but ends up being caught, imprisoned and tortured. Not a nice look for Bond and one of the few touches of realism hits the screen.

After an extended stay in prison and sporting a beard and long hair he is released and becomes a rogue agent as MI6 think he has deceived them. He continues his search for Zao in Cuba where he meets Jinx (Halle Berry) and then the trail leads him to London and the baddie, diamond mogul Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) with his beautiful assistant, Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike).

An interlude of swordplay and then it’s on to Iceland with some pretty amazing scenes in and around an ice palace. Finally some scenes on an Antanov, which of course gets destroyed (don’t they always!?). Of course, Bond wins the day, and the girl.

Pierce plays Bond in his usual cool way and is suave, sophisticated, capable and destructive, with an eye for the girls. Halle Berry is really very good as Jinx – she has some good one-liners and brings a touch of humour to the role along with her beauty. Toby Stephens plays Gustav Graves very well – he is an actor that brings much depth to the roles he plays and this is no exception. Of course being a ‘baddie’ is somewhat limiting, but he plays it to the hilt. Rosamund Pike is coolly beautiful as Ms. Frost and lets no emotion escape, as the part decrees. Judi Dench is of course M and her part seems smaller than some previous Bond movies, but what she is in is played true to form. John Cleese plays Q and brings a lighthearted touch to his scenes.

I wasn’t that keen on the Die Another Day song, which is by Madonna, but its quite a techno song, so I guess that’s why. Scenes in the movie – well the CGI is a bit over the top in a couple of scenes (eg. sea/wave with icebergs) but trying to do those scenes in reality would be impossible, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that score. On the other hand there is a return to some of the big-budget look scenes (eg. the ice palace) and some nods to previous Bond films.

Overall, a good movie to watch if you like lots of action and a slip away from reality for a couple of hours.

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